Opener M. Vijay said Virender Sehwag had been a calming influence on him during his innings of 87 here on Thursday.
“He told me time and again to relax and just enjoy my game. And he himself played such a great innings,” said Vijay. The opener was impressive with his technique and temperament.
Vijay was pleased with his performance although he was not so happy with the attempted sweep shot that cost him his wicket. “It was a wrong stroke to play at that stage,” he said.
On whether he had received instructions to bat positively, Vijay said, “I just went out there and played my natural game, batted the way I normally bat.”
Vijay said slipping into Gautam Gambhir’s shoes for the Test was not easy. “He (Gambhir) has been doing so well and that put some burden on me as I replaced him for the match. I am happy I was able to build a 200-plus partnership with Sehwag.”
He admitted that even if had made a hundred in the match, Gambhir would come in for him in the next Test. “Veeru (Sehwag) and Gauti (Gambhir) have been doing a great job and my job is to do well whenever I get a chance.”
Vijay said there was nothing premeditated about his six off Muralitrharan that took him to his first Test fifty; Vijay had batted well on his debut against Australia at Nagpur last season but missed a half century in both the innings.
“I was not looking at the scoreboard at that point. And Murali is a great bowler. I had played Murali before and know his bowling. I had faced him at the nets while playing in the IPL,” he said.
Angelo Mathews, who missed his maiden Test century by a run, said his run-out dismissal was unfortunate.
Dwelling on Virender Sehwag’s innings, the Sri Lankan said, “I have never seen Murali dominated like this before. Sehwag batted brilliantly. We did all we could on the day but nothing worked for us. Tomorrow is another day.”
Mathews felt the pitch had eased out mid-way through the first day. “There was a lot of bounce and turn till the hour after lunch. After that, the pitch has really flattened out. It was a really flat track out there on today. Not much was happening for the bowlers. We are not demoralised. We can come back in the Test,” he said.